The Best Castles and Palaces in Germany

Take a Trip Through Germany's Past and Visit Its Best Castles

There are over 25,000 castles in Germany today. Some are only ruins, but many of them are well-preserved and home to museums, restaurants and even hotels open to the public.

The country is filled with castles because during the Middle Ages, Germany was divided into many small, competitive feudal states and principalities. These unstable times encouraged the construction of secure and fortified castles in Germany.

The Castle Road is lined with 70 castles and palaces; it is 625 miles long and leads you on small winding back roads from the southwest of Germany to the Czech Republic.

Highlights along the way are the castles of Heidelberg, Bamberg, and Nuremberg, the 1000-year old Castle Hotel Colmberg, and the best-preserved medieval town of Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

There are so many castles to visit in Germany you might be overwhelmed with options. Here we offer the best castles in Germany. 

Want to visit a castle? Germany has you covered.

  • 01 of 06
    Neuschwanstein Castle
    ••• Keren Su/Photodisc/Getty Images

    In charming Bavaria 73 miles southwest of Munich, there lies one of the most famous castles in the world. Neuschwanstein was built in 1869 by mad King Ludwig II. It was  constructed as a fantastic castle born straight from his imagination, not for defense, but for pleasure. A private summer retreat he never got to enjoy, the king mysteriously died nearby by drowning in Lake Starnber.

    Aside from its strange origins, the castle is a wonder. There are turrets and even flush toilets and heating. Neuschwanstein is a homage to German composer Richard Wagner with many scenes from his operas depicted in the interior. In fact, Neuschwanstein shares the same name as the castle in Wagner's opera Lohengrin.

    The castle has also inspired others like the fantasy castles of Walt Disney's Sleeping beauty Castle. It is also an essential stop on Top Ten Sights and Attractions in Germany.

    Address: Alpseestrasse 12, 87645 Hohenschwangau
    Website: www.neuschwanstein.de
    Admission: €13 for adults, €12...MORE reduced; kids under 18 free

  • 02 of 06
    Burg Eltz
    ••• Hans Georg Eiben

    In the West of Germany, between Trier and Koblenz, lies the Eltz Castle. Hidden in a small valley in the middle of a dense forest, the castle has been owned and lived in by the same family since the 12th century.

    A guided tour allows visitors to gaze at the original furniture and art collection with armor in the Knights Hall dating back to the 16th century. Eltz Castle is (relatively) unknown and can be pleasantly uncrowded compared to other castles in Germany.

    Address: Burg Eltz, 56294 Münstermaifeld
    Websiteburg-eltz.de/en/
    Admission: €10 for adults; €6.50 for students and kids

  • 03 of 06
    Sanssoucis Palace Gardens Potsdam
    ••• GNTB/Dietmar Scherf

    "Germany's Versailles" was a summer retreat for Berlin royalty. Created for Frederick the Great and named after the French phrase "sans souci" which translates to "without worries", this was indeed an idyllic play land for the rich and powerful.

    Smaller than its French inspiration, it is still an impressive Rococo palace with even more magical grounds. Terraced gardens lead down to the Great Fountain and on to the Temple of Friendship, Chinese House, and 70km of walkways. Sanssouci and its gardens are protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Address: Maulbeerallee, 14469 Potsdam
    Website: www.spsg.de/schloesser-gaerten/objekt/schloss-sanssouci/
    Admission: €12 for adults; €8 for discounted

  • 04 of 06
    Castle of Heidelberg
    ••• Heidelberg Marketing GmbH

    In southwest Germany about 57 miles south of Frankfurt, you'll find the ruins of the once majestic Castle of Heidelberg. The castle used to be a Gothic masterpiece, but was destroyed several times over the centuries.

    Looking up from the town, the ruins dominate the skyline. And once you mount the hill be sure to look back at another epic view of the city and bridge spanning the river.

    The castle is partly rebuilt with different architectural styles clearly identified among the ruins. For example, the Ottheinrich Building is one of the earliest palace buildings of the German Renaissance.

     

    Address: Schloss Heidelberg, 69117 Heidelberg
    Websitewww.schloss-heidelberg.de
    Admission: € 7 for adults

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    Wartburg Castle
    ••• Sean Gallup

    The Wartburg Castle lies in the East of Germany, close to Eisenach, and is perched over the forests of Thuringia. It is one of the oldest and best-preserved Romanesque castles in all of Germany, built in 1067.

    Legendary guests stayed there like poet Walther von der Vogelweide and it inspired his work, which in turn inspired Richard Wagner 's opera Tannhäuser. Elisabeth of Hungary charitable acts here led to her sainthood. But its most famous temporary resident was church reformist Martin Luther who lived while he translated the Bible into German. Visitors can see the very room he stayed in - complete with ink spot from where he threw an inkwell at the devil.

    Since 1999, the Wartburg Castle has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Address: Auf der Wartburg 1, 99817 Eisenach
    Websitewww.wartburg.de
    Admission: €9 for adults, €5 for students and children

  • 06 of 06
    Ludwigsburg Palace
    ••• By David Kadavy, CC BY 2.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3817645

    This is one of the country's largest Baroque palaces. Just outside of Stuttgart, its grounds are as lovely as its interior with a magnificent Blühendes Barock (Baroque garden) complete with lake.

    Inside, the Baroque grandeur continues. There is a Barockgalerie (Baroque Gallery), Keramikmuseum (Ceramics Museum) and Modemuseum (Fashion Museum). To entertain the kiddies, Kinderreich is modern, interactive museum where children can finally touch things. 

    To see the palace in a more playful setting, visit during the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. Billed as the largest pumpkin festival in the world, hundreds of thousands of pumpkins are decorated and used as decoration with fun events like a pumpkin boat race and giant pumpkin smash. Another special event is the annual Christmas market.

    Address: Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg
    Website: schloss-ludwigsburg.de
    Admission: €7 for adults, €3.50 for discounts